This may come as a surprise to many of you, but no one on this planet is God. No one really knows for certain what God truly thinks about divorce. As far as I know, none of us have had the pleasure to sit down with Him/Her and ask if we are committing a great sin by leaving our marriages. Yet, countless avid bible readers and church-goers continue to quote lines like, “But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (Matthew 5:31-32). Seriously? I didn’t even choose to get divorced, but now I’m eternally considered an adulteress?! This can’t be right.
I grew up in a home with an atheist father and “spiritual” mother, who believes in a “God” or higher power, but doesn’t necessarily identify with any particular religion. At the age of 12 I met some new girlfriends at school and they invited me to go to their youth group at church. I didn’t know what I believed at the time and figured that if I went that I would at least gain some new friends. After attending for a few weeks, I could see that there were a lot of parts of that particular denomination of Christianity that weren’t right for me, but I began to realize that I could really identify with the overall concept of Jesus and Christianity. I accepted Jesus into my heart and have called myself a Christian ever since.
As a Christian, I began to change my life to make myself a better person and live my life according to biblical principles. I started treating the people around me much kinder, began volunteering in the community, tried my hardest not to sin, and made a pledge to remain a virgin until marriage. All of this worked out great until I met my first husband. We met at church and began dating when I was 17 and he was 23. A few months after my eighteenth birthday, I gave into temptation and lost my virginity to him. The immense guilt I felt was completely overwhelming. From that moment on, I became dead-set on marrying him. I made this very apparent and put the pressure on him to pop the question, thinking that by getting married God would feel better about us breaking the “rules”. At the age of 20 I married my first love.
Our marriage was terrible. We were both far too young to be married and we had a very immature, volatile relationship. After 6 years of being emotionally abused I began to act out and my ex filed for divorce. For the second time in my life, I began to panic at what God would think of this decision. I begged my ex not to go through with it, but he did and honestly, it was one of the best things to ever happen to me.
After one failed marriage, I gave up on trying to do my relationships according to the bible. I had already messed everything up; I lost my virginity before marriage and got a divorce. It was obvious that I was screwed for eternity and the bible had no guidelines for sex and marriage after a divorce. I decided to have fun and do what made me feel happy and just prayed that God would somehow forgive me for not living perfectly in line with what the church had taught me.
I ended up taking my own path and found a Christian denomination and a church that I felt completely at home with. This church wasn’t judgmental of peoples life choices or anyone’s past, which was so refreshing. One of my favorite things that they regularly said was, “The bible wasn’t written to us, it was written for us”. This really changed my view on the bible. The men who wrote the bible weren’t writing it with us in mind, nor was it written according to the way the world is now. God may have inspired the words, but he didn’t write it, imperfect, sinful men did. As for the stories and rules, much of this is left up to interpretation. As a matter of fact, many churches and denominations still fight over what everything actually means. Much of what has been written are metaphors and aren’t meant to be taken literally. This all being said, it can be quite difficult to know exactly what God wants us to do sometimes.
The best we can do, is try to live our lives as good people, respecting each other and not judging each other. Even Jesus spent time with prostitutes and criminals, yet loved them for who they were. After two divorces, I no longer worry that God is angry with me or that other Christians are judging me, because I know in my heart that God wouldn’t want me in the types of marriages I had in the past. I truly think that God just wants us to love him, love each other, and be happy. Jesus loves me, even when I mess up. I’ve learned that every time I have tried to control my life and make it the way I think God will want it, I end up miserable. God’s plans for our lives are far better than anything we can plan for ourselves and I am living proof of that!
This is obviously a controversial topic and many of you may feel differently, but that is the beauty of free-will. I have always believed that it isn’t my place to convince others what to believe, you will follow your heart and believe what feels right for you. Therefore, stop beating yourself up because life hasn’t gone the way you meant for it to go! Don’t let other people’s opinions and judgments make you feel bad about your life or make you fear that you are condemned to hell! I don’t know how a loving God could ever punish those who love him because they chose to follow their heart and get out of a bad situation. When you start hearing the anti-divorce bible quotes be sure to toss this one out there: “There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:12) Live your life, be a good person, and everything else will eventually fall into place. Good luck and best wishes!